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Nebraska safety Mohamed Barry, after loss to Colorado: ‘We were better than that team’

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Ah yes, the time-honored and always-embarrassing loser’s lament.

Nebraska entered Week 2 as a four-point favorite over Colorado at Folsom Field in what turned out to be a de facto home game for the Cornhuskers…

.. and NU played the role as such early on, rolling to a 17-0 lead at the end of the first half.  After that, however, the Cornhuskers were outscored 31-14 the remainder of regulation; after that, they were outscored 3-0 in extra time as the Buffaloes came away with a come-from-way-behind 34-31 win in overtime.

In the postgame locker room after the disappointing defeat, one Nebraska senior decided to bust out the trusty ol’ “we were better than them regardless of what the scoreboard said” card in an attempt to publicly assuage his personal anguish.

“Honestly, it was back-and-forth,” safety Mohamed Barry said according to the Denver Post. “I felt like the first half, I thought it was over with. I thought we were about to (beat) them, it was about to be a blowout. And that’s what it should’ve been. We had them. We were better than that team. In that second half, we didn’t finish and we have to finish.”

So, with that moral victory, Nebraska is now 2-0 heading into its Week 3 matchup with Northern Illinois in Lincoln.  So the Cornhuskers have that going for them.  Which is nice.

Colorado rallies from 17 down to upend No. 25 Nebraska in OT

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These past two games have been so good it makes you pine for the days when Colorado and Nebraska found a way to play every season. After Colorado took a back-and-forth game in Lincoln a year ago, the Buffaloes completed a 17-point comeback in barely more than a quarter to stun No. 25 Nebraska, 34-31 in overtime.

Trailing 17-0 at the break, Colorado rallied to tie the game at 24-24, then again at 31-31 on a fabulous 26-yard heave from Steven Montez to Tony Brown with 46 seconds left in regulation. Heaving the ball down the field with 24 ticks to play, Adrian Martinez was intercepted by CU’s Dimitri Stanley, who raced the ball 48 yards to the Nebraska 41 with nine seconds to play, but replay found his knee was down upon catching the ball at his own 15 and the game went to overtime.

Colorado (2-0) opened overtime with a 34-yard James Stefanou field goal, then sacked Martinez on 3rd-and-9 to force a 48-yard Isaac Armstrong field goal to push the game to double overtime, but his kick sailed wide right.

The first half was near perfect for Nebraska (1-1). Martinez hit all nine of his passes for 180 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 45 more with another score, allowing the Huskers to take a 17-0 lead to the break.

The second half? A different story.

After an exchange of five punts to open the half, Colorado finally got on the board on an 11-yard Jaren Mangham run at the 1:52 mark of the third quarter, capping an 8-play, 64-yard drive.

Colorado then pulled within three on one of the gutsiest calls of the season: a flea-flicker from the Buffs’ own 4-yard line, which turned into a school-record 96-yard connection from Montez to KD Nixon, pulling CU within 17-14 with 14:22 left to play.

Nebraska, its offense vacant for the entire third quarter, answered immediately: a 75-yard swing pass from Martinez to Maurice Washington on the game’s next snap.

Colorado answered, though, needing only five snaps to put together a 75-yard scoring march of its own. Mangham pulled the Buffaloes back within three at 24-21 with a 7-yard rush with 12:19 left. Colorado’s defense then stepped up, stripping Martinez for the second time of the game, this time at his own 20. Colorado could not take its first lead of the day, Montez’s third-and-goal pass to Brown was too flat, but Stefanou’s 20-yard boot leveled the game with 8:30 remaining.

Nebraska re-gained the lead with a vintage Big 8-Nebraska drive: seven plays, all of them runs by the quarterback or running back, for 75 yards and a score. Martinez punctuated the drive with a 6-yard keeper on 4th-and-1 with 5:49 remaining.

Colorado appeared to seize back momentum when Laviska Shenault returned the ensuing kickoff 54 yards, but he was stripped and Nebraska’s Luke Reimer recovered at his won 21. Given a chance to seize permanent control of the game, Nebraska instead went three-and-out, and Colorado took over at its own 29 with 3:33 to play and pulled even on Montez’s pass to Brown.

After throwing for 84 yards in the first half, Montez finished the day 28-of-41 for 375 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, while Martinez threw for 290 yards and two scores, rushed for 66 and two more, but committed three turnovers.

While Nebraska can take a shallow solace in its 49-20-2 lead in the series, Colorado can point to its two consecutive comeback victories until the teams meet again in 2023.

No. 25 Nebraska leading Colorado at the break

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A Big 8 reunion has played out so far like most Big 8 games, with Nebraska leading Colorado. At the half in Boulder the No. 25 Huskers hold a 17-0 edge over their black-and-gold hosts.

After having his coming out party (187 passing yards, 117 rushing) before exiting early due to injury in last year’s loss in LincolnAdrian Martinez has been sensational so far in this one. He hit all nine of his passes (for 180 yards and a touchdown) and rushed six times for a game-high 45 yards and another score, coming on a 5-yard keeper with 6:37 left in the second quarter, giving Nebraska a 14-point cushion.

Nebraska’s first score came on a 65-yard toss from Martinez to JD Spielman at the 6:02 mark of the first quarter.

Martinez’s lone mistake came on a fumble at the Colorado 36, but the–dated reference alert–Blackshirts bailed him out by forcing a three-and-out. Martinez atoned for the mistake by leading a 95-yard drive that ended with his 5-yard run.

Trailing 14-0, Colorado added to its misery when Steven Montez fired a pass straight to Nebraska’s Lamar Jackson at the Colorado 44, which the Huskers turned into a 26-yard Isaac Armstrong field goal.

Montez completed 13 of his 17 remaining throws, but for just 84 yards. The Buffs were credited with 14 carries for no yards.

Colorado expecting huge influx of Nebraska fans at Folsom Field… and record revenues as a result

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Colorado is excited for their home opener on Saturday against old rival Nebraska and fully expecting a lot of red to dot the seats around Folsom Field as a result of their old Big 8 foes coming to town.

So much so that it could be the biggest game in the Buffs’ history when it comes to the final check being written.

“We’ve done everything we can to try to get those tickets in the hands of CU fans,” athletic director Rick George told 9News. We know that Nebraska travels well and they’ll probably have a number of people here.

“This should be the highest revenue game that we’ve had in our history.”

The Cornhuskers likely will travel well beyond their 3,000 allotted seats for the matchup, which comes on the heals of last year’s upset by CU in Lincoln. That result put a huge damper on the beginning of the Scott Frost era and is something NU will no doubt be looking to return the favor as new CU coach Mel Tucker roams the sidelines for the first time at Folsom.

This will be the two team’s first meeting in Boulder in a decade dating back to a 2009 win by the Huskers when the two were both in the Big 12. Each is in a much different place but it seems the interest in beating each other is still running high enough for the Buffs to be in the black on the balance sheet well before kickoff.

CFT Cheat Sheet: What to know for Week 2

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A quick primer on who, what and where to look for/at as we head into Week 2 of the 2019 college football season.

WEEK 1 STORYLINES

  • Let’s face it: Week 1 was, by and large, a scheduling dud, with just one ranked-on-ranked game — and zero Top 10 matchups — on the opening weekend docket.  This week, though, college football fans will feast on the likes of No. 12 Texas A&M-No. 1 Clemson and the first Top 10 tilt of the season in No. 6 LSU-No. 9 Texas.  Toss in Army and its 10-game winning streak traveling to the Big House to face No. 7 Michigan; a Cincinnati squad that took care of UCLA in the opener heading up I-71 to No. 5 Ohio State; and No. 25 Stanford vs. USC in what is now the Backup Bowl, and Week 2 is setting up to be a much more palatable Saturday of football.  Oh, and there is also…
  • No. 25 Nebraska making its way to Colorado to take on the Buffaloes.  The Men of Corn vs. Ralphie.  The former Big 8/12 rivals have played 69 times previously, but just once (2018) since NU bolted to the Big Ten ahead of the 2011 season.  The Cornhuskers will be making their first trek to Boulder since the 2009 season, with what some would call memories of dirty pool still fresh in the Blackshirts’ minds.
  • What can Jalen Hurts do for an encore?  In making his Oklahoma debut, all the former Alabama quarterback did was set career-highs with 332 passing yards (previous best was 248), 176 rushing yards (154), and three rushing touchdowns (two). The three passing touchdowns tied his previous career-best set against FCS Mercer in November of 2017.  With FCS South Dakota on tap, don’t expect to see Hurts on the field for more than a half of action — but do expect some additional video game-like numbers.
  • Can the Mountain West Conference even remotely come close to matching its Week 1 success?  Four teams from the MWC scored wins over Power Five schools last weekend — Nevada over Purdue, Boise State over Florida State, Wyoming over Missouri, Hawaii over Arizona.  In Week 2, four more MWC schools will square off with Power Five teams — Hawaii-Oregon State, Nevada-Oregon, San Diego State-UCLA, Fresno State-Minnesota.  According to the Westgate sportsbook, three more upsets are certainly within the realm of possibility as the Bulldogs, Rainbow Warriors and Aztecs are 3-, 6½- and 7½-point underdogs, respectively.  The Wolf Pack upending the Ducks, on the other hand, would be a significant upset as the latter is set as a 24-point favorite.
  • In two-plus seasons, Jonathan Taylor has averaged 156 yards rushing per game.  A year ago, Central Michigan was 104th nationally in giving up 204.7 yards per game on the ground. No. 17 Wisconsin will play host to CMU Saturday as Taylor continues his climb toward becoming the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher (Taylor has 4,306, record-holder Donnell Pumphrey had 6,405) in just three seasons.
  • Owners of the second-longest Power Five losing streak in conference play — Rutgers is first at 12 straight — Arkansas hasn’t won an SEC game since beating Ole Miss in late October of 2017, a string of 11 losses in a row.  Saturday, the Razorbacks go on the road to face… the Rebels in Oxford.  Just throwing that out there.

SIX-PACK OF MUST-SEE GAMES

  • No. 6 LSU (-6) at No. 9 Texas — Who would’ve thought that an LSU game would feature a two-sided battle of the quarterbacks?  That will be the case this week as the Tigers’ Joe Burrow tossed five touchdowns in a half’s work of work, while the Longhorns’ Sam Ehlinger was very efficient in throwing four touchdowns of his own in their opener.
  • No. 12 Texas A&M at No. 1 Clemson (-17) — As evidenced by one pregame guarantee, this will be a revenge game for A&M as an Aggies failed two-point conversion late in the fourth — which was preceded by a critical fourth-quarter fumble and two missed first-half field goal attempts — allowed the Tigers to escape College Station with a 28-26 win en route to the 2018 national championship.
  • Army at No. 7 Michigan (-22) — ‘Merica’s Team is riding a 10-game winning streak, the second-longest in the country.  Conversely, the Black Knights are on a staggering 45-game losing streak against ranked teams, with Army’s last win coming against then-No. 19 Air Force in November of 1972.  Michigan’s last loss to a service academy? October of 1967 to Navy.
  • No. 25 Stanford at USC (-1) — The Trojans knew early on that they would be without their starting quarterback as J.T. Daniels suffered a torn ACL in the season opener.  The Cardinal, after a week’s worth of theirs dealing with a head injury that had him officially listed as questionable, will officially be without their starter, K.J. Costello, as well.  As a result, both schools will have first-time starters under center (redshirt sophomore Davis Mills for the Cardinal, true freshman Kedon Slovis for the Trojans).
  • Cincinnati at No. 5 Ohio State (-16) — Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell returns to The Horseshoe to face the Buckeyes, where the Columbus native once served as a player (1993-96), assistant coach (1999; 2002-10; 2012-16) and interim head coach (2011).  OSU has played 41 games versus in-state schools; they have won each one, including all five against UC.
  • Miami (-4) at North Carolina — There’s a bit of a past between the two head coaches in this matchup as Miami’s Manny Diaz served as North Carolina’s Mack Brown‘s defensive coordinator at Texas before Brown fired him in September of 2013 after giving up 550 yards rushing in a Week 2 loss to BYU. More importantly, The U will be looking to avoid its first 0-2 start since 1978.

BEST/WORST WAGERS OF WEEK 2

  • BEST: Cal (+14) at Washington.  I’m taking Cal’s defense and running with the points as Washington’s offense is still a work in progress after losing the school’s all-time leading passer, rusher.
  • WORST: Nebraska (-3½) at Colorado.  Nebraska barely escaped against South Alabama in the opener, and actually opened as an eight-point favorite over Colorado before the (smart) money started flowing in on the home team.
  • COVER SPECIAL:  Nevada (+24) at Oregon.  The MWC school won’t beat Oregon outright, but the team that knocked off Purdue in Week 1 will cover.

HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH

  1. Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma (Last week: No. 3) — Six touchdowns and 500-plus yards of offense in the opener earns you the top spot.
  2. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (No. 2) — The junior had almost as many touchdowns (four) as incompletions (five) vs. Duke.
  3. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson (unranked) — Etienne had 205 yards and three touchdowns on just a dozen carries.
  4. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (No. 5) — After zero receiving touchdowns his first two seasons, Taylor had two in the opener (plus two on the ground).
  5. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (No. 4) — Five total touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) in first career start.
  6. Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas (No. 6) — Four passing touchdowns, 169.4 pass efficiency rating.
  7. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (No. 1) — Lawrence had four interceptions as a true freshman; he had two in the opener.
  8. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (unranked) — Burrow’s five first-half touchdown tosses set the school’s single-game record.
  9. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (No. 8) — Performed reasonably well (242 yards,1 TD, 0 picks) against one of the best defenses he’ll face in 2019.
  10. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (unranked) — I’ve decided to put a non-QB/RB in the 10th spot moving forward, and the Tide junior (10-137-1) is a good start.

(DROPPED OUT: Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez (No. 7), Georgia QB Jake Fromm (No. 9), Ohio State RB JK Dobbins (No. 10))

WEEK 2 BOLD PREDICTIONS
BRYAN FISCHER (@BryanDFischer): Arkansas (+6½) upsets Ole Miss for their first SEC win in 679 days. The Razorbacks were uninspiring — to say the least — in their opener against Portland State, but they move to 2-0 with a last-minute win at the Rebels as Chad Morris breaks through and Matt Luke‘s hot seat turns to lava.
ZACH BARNETT (@zach_barnett): Tennessee drops to 0-2. The Vols didn’t lose to Georgia State because they were dehydrated, a la Florida State. They lost because Georgia State was a better football team. BYU is, too.
KEVIN MCGUIRE (@KevinOnCFB): There is a lot of speculation that Army and Cincinnati will give Michigan and Ohio State, respectively, some good battles. I don’t see it happening. After some slow starts in the first quarter, both the Buckeyes and Wolverines romp at home this week.
JOHN TAYLOR (@CFTalk)
: Joe Burrow set a school record with five touchdown passes in the season opener a week ago; that benchmark will last exactly seven days as Burrow will break his own record by tossing six in LSU’s win over Texas in what will be an unexpectedly high-scoring affair.

NFL DRAFT PROSPECT WATCH
Wide receiver vs. cornerback battles in games such as Texas-LSU, Stanford-USC, Nebraska-Colorado and Texas A&M-Clemson are the flavors of the week as our buddies over at Rotoworld place their weekly spotlight on next-level players.  For the entire extensively-detailed piece, click HERE.